If you are a hopeful adoptive parent, you know you have options when it comes to types of adoption — but do you also know you have options when it comes to how you pursue adoption?
Most adoptive families use an agency to represent them throughout the adoption process, but there is always the option to adopt independently, or without an agency.
There can initially seem to be many advantages to choosing independent adoption: lower costs, more privacy, a la carte services or professionals, and the potential for a deeper relationship with an expectant mother.
But, with each advantage, there are also disadvantages.
Given the strict regulations and amount of documentation involved with adoption, it is easy to miss a step or complete a portion of an independent adoption incorrectly. This can add to your wait times and overall costs. That’s why, before pursuing independent adoption, you need to have a complete understanding of what exactly it is and its associated pros and cons.
Below, find a few questions you should ask yourself before you make the decision to pursue an independent adoption.
1. Are you ready for the extra work and responsibility that is required for an independent adoption?
When you pursue an independent adoption, you are in control of finding service providers, completing all requirements on deadline, providing all documentation and handling every other step. This is not a process that should be taken lightly; any error could result in a delay or even disqualification to advance to the next step of your adoption.
If you do not have the time, energy and knowledge to completely devote yourself to pursuing your own adoption, you may consider working with an agency. They provide all the services needed to guide you through the infant adoption process.
2. Do you understand how to advertise for adoption opportunities?
One of the many services an agency provides is the exposure to prospective birth mothers through advertising. In infant adoption, expectant mothers choose their desired characteristics for adoptive families and are then given profiles that match those preferences. An agency helps adoptive families create these profiles and presents them to prospective birth mothers throughout their local or national network. This increases the chances of an adoptive family being selected for adoption.
It’s possible for those pursuing independent adoption to advertise to expectant mothers, but the exposure will not be nearly the same as that of agency. A hopeful parent may still require the use of a marketing professional, or independent advertising may even be illegal in their state.
If you are unaware of the process of advertising for adoption opportunities or do not have the tools to do it properly, it may be best to consider working with an agency.
3. Do I know how to screen adoption opportunities and avoid scams?
Unfortunately, there are people in this world who prey on adoption for their own personal gain and scam unsuspecting victims — not only out of money and time but also out of the emotions. When adoptive families pursue an independent adoption, the risk of a scam is higher. They are much more vulnerable because they do not have professionals screening expectant mothers.
Screening doesn’t just indicate whether the adoption situation is legitimate or not. Agencies also screen expectant mothers to find out their medical backgrounds, prenatal medical records and more. This provides adoptive families important information as they decide whether they would like to move forward.
If you do not have the ability to provide similar expectant mother screening, you may reconsider if an independent adoption is the right choice for your adoption goals.
4. Are you pursuing an independent adoption for the right reasons?
The greatest advantage to an independent adoption is the ability to have a closer relationship with an expectant mother. Oftentimes, independent adoptions are completed between family members or friends, which can cut down on wait times.
On the other hand, many parents choose independent adoption for financial reasons. The costs of independent adoption can appear to be lower than an agency-assisted adoption, but this is not always the case. Often, hiring adoption services a la carte can actually increase your total expenses.
If you are considering an independent adoption for this reason, you may want to determine if there is truly a benefit to this path or if you are potentially setting yourself up for financial hardship.
These are just some of the questions an adoptive parent should ask themselves before deciding if independent adoption is right for them. With such an important, life-changing decision as adoption, you want to make sure you are taking every step necessary to set yourself up for success.
If at any point you’d like to speak with a trained professional about private infant adoption, fill out this request form for a referral.